NASSAU, Bahamas, Monday March 21, 2016 – The Bahamas government has signed an agreement with an American university that will push its stem cell research and therapy push, less than a month after giving an international healthcare group the green light to carry out stem cell research and treatment on humans.
Prime Minister Perry Christie says the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the University of Miami Leonard M. Miller School of Medicine, the school’s Interdisciplinary Stem Cell Institute, and the Bahamas Ministry of Health and the Public Hospitals Authority, provides the framework for development of stem cell research and therapy.
Earlier this month, it was announced that Thorn Medical PLC had been given approval to use human stem cells to cure or treat a range of conditions and illnesses. The National Ethics Stem Cell Committee for the Bahamas said the approval would put the country firmly at the leading edge of medicine in the developed world.
Prime Minister Christie said the signing of the latest MOU comes at a “pivotal time” in the history of The Bahamas – as the country implements National Health Insurance.
“This MOU provides that the University of Miami will engage in education, training physicians, health care practitioners and scientists in finding new treatments and therapies for heart disease, neurological disease, bone disease, diabetes, cancer, eye diseases and other chronic, debilitating or incurable diseases,” Christie said.
The prime minister added that the University of Miami through the MOU will explore the possibility of providing services including establishing relationship between healthcare providers, nationally and internationally; developing telemedicine facilities to assist in diagnosis and treatment of patients; facilitate specialty training for physicians and medical practitioners in areas other than stem cell research and therapy upon request from the Ministry of Health/Public Hospitals Authority and in collaboration with the University of the West Indies School of Clinical Medicine and Research.
Under the MOU, the Stem Cell Institute will explore the possibility of providing services and support such as the establishment of a Stem Cell Laboratory ‘free standing’ or in collaboration with an existing laboratory within The Bahamas; provision of resources and expertise as necessary to advance from The Bahamas stem cell research, stem cell therapy and stem cell product development; advancement of The Bahamas as a center of excellence for stem cell research and a center for innovation in biotechnological advances, as well as providing expertise as a member of the National Stem Cell Ethics Committee, the Scientific Sub-Committee, and the Monitoring Compliance Stem Cell Sub-Committee; providing the framework in accordance with international best practices to train and develop Bahamian scientists particularly in the area of stem cell research and therapy and regenerative medicine.
Christie said the signing of the agreement has made one of the leading schools of medicine in the United States available to The Bahamas government, as it seeks to ensure patient safety and enhance the quality and delivery of healthcare to citizen, drive innovation in healthcare and create new opportunities for Bahamians in the fields of Biotechnology, Cell Therapy and Regenerative Medicine.